This week, we look at Leapster 1st Grade. It is a title with no famous branded character to encourage children to play, and subject matter that is obviously educational.
But our testers loved this program. The software cleverly incorporates an earn-tokens-so-you-can-race theme into a carnival setting. Kids earn tokens by constructing sentences on the side of log flume boats and solving math equations while riding in bumper cars.
More tokens are earned by popping bubbles to create compound words, spelling words in a side-scrolling game, and catching special “fraction” fish. The tokens earn racing time on a track (a motivation that may appeal more to boys than girls).
First grade is a challenging academic year during which most children learn to read and do math. Leapster 1st Grade is a first-rate choice to supplement this rigorous curriculum, because it cocoons children while helping them to learn. Edison, an adorable little firefly, pops up to explain educational concepts whenever children make repeated mistakes. The software offers three levels of play to span the material covered in first grade. But Leapster 1st Grade won’t seem like school to your children, because they will be having too much fun earning tokens to notice that they are learning as they play.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.